Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stormy weather

In prison for church yesterday morning. We (Jez, Claire and I) took the service - or rather the services as we have to do it 3 times during the morning, for the different blocks. We were looking at the story of Peter, the disciple, who, when he tried to walk on water, was successful until he realised what he was doing, and then sank and had to be pulled out by Jesus.

What struck me about the story was not the fact that Peter stopped believing he could do it; far more amazing was the fact that he got out of the boat in the first place. How many of us, at sea in a storm, would trust someone enough to get out of the safety of the boat and walk on water? Not me, I'm sure.

Peter is my hero because he's such a doofus. He keeps getting it wrong, even denying Jesus after he'd spent three years living with him and knowing the sort of man he was. But in spite of that Jesus calls Peter his rock, and tells him that the church will be built upon him.

I think that's because Jesus saw beyond the man who wavered and had doubts, beyond the impulsive and foolish man that Peter appeared to be. Jesus saw the faith that made Peter get out of the boat, the faith that led him to give up everything to follow Jesus in the first place. And when Peter got it wrong, Jesus didn't give up on him; he just held out his hand and helped him.

* * * * * * * * * *

One of the songs we sang during the morning was 'This is the day'. We later noticed that the music for it was a traditional Fijian tune. We wouldn't have sung it if we'd realised beforehand! The previous day's defeat was still too raw for us to be magnanimous.


jmb said...

Nice thoughts Liz. Nor me, get out of the boat, that is.
Love the denouement.

mdmhvonpa said...

"Peter is my hero because he's such a doofus."

Heh, well shucks. I must be on your list too then! :D I guess we can imagine why Pete was called 'The Rock'. I'll wager the other 11 never let him live that down.

Stu Savory said...

You wrote "But in spite of that Jesus calls Peter his rock..."

Well no, because jesus could not speak - let alone pun in - Greek.

You see, the scribe who wrote that piece - decades afterwards when none of the parties involved were alive any more - was writing in ancient Greek. And the line is a pun in Greek, between Petrus and Rock. Same word. Think of Petroglyphs - signs painted on rocks - and you'll see the root of the word.

So the scribe was just showing off by punning. Sorry if that disillusions you, but that's often the way it is with myths :-(

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, we all need someone to hold out their hand to us. I like the way you tell the story.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Wonderful ministry, Liz. You are a blessing. I was a volunteer prison chaplain for ten years until I moved to a new parish. It can be most rewarding. BTW, I agree with mdmhvonpa in regard to Peter.

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